A true Nigerian icon: In conversation with famous photographer Johnson Afolabi

The prolific Nigerian photographer talks about how he started, big breaks, and his recipe for success.

You might not recognize Johnson Afolabi’s name – but you have certainly seen his photos. From SAMA winners to music legends, and everyone in between, Sunny’s enormous portfolio and atmospheric, charismatic images made him the celebrity photographer everyone wants to be shot by.

It all started in 2007 when Sunny as he is fondly called, arrived in Johannesburg with the hope of getting a decent job. Although he studied accounting at the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro had to do a different kind of job before he met Opayinka who was on a missionary duty from the United Kingdom. Johnson traveled with Opayinka across South Africa, taking pictures of the missionary with the small camera that he came with. After two months of Opayinka’s stay in South Africa, he left the camera with Johnson and prayed for him and he also asked him to start doing the work of photography.

Sunny started photography officially in 2009 as he registered SunJohn Production as a business. The photography business started booming when he started getting calls from Nigerian pastors calling him for their programs and doing professional photoshoots for them.

Sunny’s popularity grew really fast across the Nigerian community which also contributed to the success of working with influential people like Kunle Ayo, Femi Koya, Pastor Idah Peterside, Godwin Omighale Winnerman, Pastor Phillip Adelakun, and many others across South Africa.

‘My life has changed, I have traveled around the Southern African countries including Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and across South Africa,” said Sunny

My recipe for success is hardwork, consistency, also living right as this has contributed to the success of SunJohn Photography and I am still in the business of photography, added Sunny.

Award-winning Jazz artist, Kunle Ayo

Faze of Plantashun Boiz
Legendary saxophonist, Ayo Solanke
Papa Ayo Oritsejafor in Johannesburg, South Africa
Star-studded photos with Wale Ojo, Femi Koya, Dr. Felix, Jo Kunnuji, and others

A Nigerian couple in Pretoria
Folorunsho Oluwasegun Opeyemi of Anish Media
Femi Koya performing at the MTN Bush Fire Festival in Swaziland
Femi Koya and a trumpeter performing at the Orbit in Johannesburg
Pastor Idah Peterside
Pastor Phillip Adelakun
Solomon Izang Ashoms and Wife
Johnson Afolabi and DJ Sbu
Gospel Artistes duo Godwin Omighale Winnerman and wife, Lindiwe
The Music Enlightenment Project Orchestra

Terry G and Timaya

Popular DJ Waxxy and wife
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